Anyone agree The Shield is the best thing ever?

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FrodoBaggins

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Poll Anyone agree The Shield is the best thing ever? (215 votes)

It's amazing! 21%
It's ok. 24%
It's poop. 11%
Never seen it. 44%

So, The Shield is the best thing ever. Does anybody else agree? In the years since I first watched it (about 8 years ago) I haven't encounter a single person in real life who has seen it, and believe me, I ask frequently. Have you seen The Shield and if so how do you feel about it?

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Marcsman

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It ain't no sliced bread.

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BoOzak

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It's fine, real dearth of likeable characters though.

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xanadu

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#3  Edited By xanadu

I disagree. It's a very good show, but I think Breaking Bad is the best thing ever.

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BladedEdge

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It was, until they broke up and started pushing Roman Re...

wait, wrong thread. No, seriously, its good.

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SethMode

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It's fine, but it's of an era and I don't think it holds up that well. The anti-(not even) heroes it is comprised of are just SO unlikable, especially by the end, it becomes a real slog (for me). There are several shows I would consider vastly superior to it that came out before and after it.

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cikame

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I've seen maybe two halfs of two episodes, it's just cops doing bad things sometimes right?

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SethMode

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@cikame said:

I've seen maybe two halfs of two episodes, it's just cops doing bad things sometimes right?

I mean, it's more like, cops doing good things sometimes. Or, maybe even cops doing good things once in a blue moon.

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cikame

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You think maybe someone would stop them :S.

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Lumbermancer

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I've watched three or so episodes, and it didn't really grab me. The Wire it was not.

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Trummux

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It probably has my favorite ending of any cable TV drama

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frytup

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It was good at the time, but I have zero interest in re-watching it.

Looking back on it, the only performance I really like came from Walton Goggins. Don't think I ever need to see Michael Chiklis again.

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notnert427

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The Shield is pretty damn good. Walton Goggins is the best, even though he's a real piece of shit in the show. Some of the film techniques of the time, along with FX leaning really hard into the "edgy" stuff back then, make some elements of the show dated/unnecessary/in poor taste thinking back on it now. Still, it's one of the better TV shows that's ever been made overall.

That said, Justified is my favorite thing FX has done, followed by The Shield, The Americans, and the one great season we got of Terriers.

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nutter

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The Shield and Breaking Bad are the only two shows I can recall that seemed totally uncompromised by the television format.

They told clear stories, didn’t drag shit out, and felt like a complete vision from start to finish. There were character arcs, appropriate endings, it’s not some crap like Sons of Anarchy, Walking Dead, or The Blacklist that clearly exists to drag you to the next commercial.

Deadwood was almost that (goddamned lack of season four).

Game of Thrones has the potential to be that (fingers crossed).

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nutter

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nutter

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#15  Edited By nutter

@trummux: Yes. The Shield ended perfectly.

Breaking Bad comes close. The Phonecall (third to last episode of Breaking Bad?) was my favorite scene in television history. The way that story unfolds, the acting...Good God.

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SethMode

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@nutter said:

The Shield and Breaking Bad are the only two shows I can recall that seemed totally uncompromised by the television format.

They told clear stories, didn’t drag shit out, and felt like a complete vision from start to finish. There were character arcs, appropriate endings, it’s not some crap like Sons of Anarchy, Walking Dead, or The Blacklist that clearly exists to drag you to the next commercial.

Deadwood was almost that (goddamned lack of season four).

Game of Thrones has the potential to be that (fingers crossed).

Man, I genuinely intend no offense here but, I feel like you haven't watched enough shows then. There are a litany of shows that follow these rules. Off of the top of my head: The Wire, The Americans, The Sopranos, Better Call Saul, Fargo, Rectify, Justified. None of those fall into conventional television formats. Hell, I HATE Mad Men, but I'd be hard pressed to say that does either. You could even argue most modern comedies like Arrested Development (before season 4), Parks and Recreation, GLOW, Silicon Valley, Bojack Horseman, and the Venture Bros. also buck these trends. I'm not trying to dunk on The Shield here, just feel like it's kind of false praise acting like it's doing something special that other shows aren't also doing.

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BrunoTheThird

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#17  Edited By BrunoTheThird

I would put it low-ish on the top 100 shows of the last 20 years, but it is of a very high quality and easily makes the list. (I accidentally voted "it's poop") I need to re-watch it. It was definitely one of the earliest shows that I remember along with Sopranos, The Wire, and 24 to start that kind of television which completely left the '90s behind in terms of how it was filmed (lots of film grain, more movement in the camera work), taking far more cues and influences from top-tier action movies and thrillers instead of looking at TVs past and iterating on it. I'm sure more knowledgeable people remember shows before 1999 starting that stuff earlier, but I feel like '99 into the early 2000s was the beginning of it as the new high bar of quality.

For me the spy TV shit is what captivates me lately that I don't see discussed much; old classics like Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy; Smiley's People; or another more recent le Carré adaptation like The Night Manager. Can't get enough of that vibe.

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nutter

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@sethmode: No offense taken. I’m mostly getting at the shows feeling, to me, like they exist to tell a story, not sell a toaster. If I wanted to call out shows for messing with conventions, I’d have started with Twin Peaks (which would be right up there as uncompromised if not for about half of season 2).

I liked The Wire a lot, but not as much as The Shield or Breaking Bad. It was consistently a VERY strong show, and I’m not about to knock it.

Sopranos was great, but there was a season and a half (the second to last season and first half of the final season) that was just a waste of time. Carmella’s Magical European Vacation and Vito’s Vermont Getaway were just bad. The show was treading water, taking haitus, and felt far from vital for a couple of years there. That last half season was great, though...

Better Call Saul is outstanding, but it hasn’t had it’s full run yet. I hope they nail it.

I really like Justified, but seasons didn’t typically feel vital to a central plot. Without Walton Goggins, I’d have probably given up on it. Every season felt like a sepeate serialized stort, albeit super solid stories.

I’ll watch Fargo at some point, and I’ll look up Rectify (never heard of it).

From what I’ve seen, Breaking Bad and The Shield tell their stories first and feel pretty damned uncompromised by being there to sell ads. I really just don’t feel the same about those other shows (Better Call Saul, again, so far notwithstanding).

I’m not going to get into sitcoms. I love Arrested Development and GLOW, but it’s not the same to me. They’re funny and entertaining, but they’re different beasts altogether.

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SethMode

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@nutter: I see what you're saying now duder! And fair point on sitcoms, I pretty much agree with you there. I just was thinking in an entirely different context on your original post. Either way, thanks for the great response!

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nutter

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#20  Edited By nutter

@sethmode: I love a happy ending (on forums)!

Plenty of great shows out there, I just think those two (hopefully Game of Thrones and Better Call Saul are a third and fourth) have VERY little fat to trim / wasted motion.

And yeah, as much as I adore The Shield and will always consider it an underrated gem, there are a number of shows you mentioned that did more to move the medium forward.

EDIT: If I want to get hyper-critical of The Shield, special guest stars spending a season each dealing with Vic Mackey & Co. did turn into something of a trope.

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Toxin066

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It was, until they broke up and started pushing Roman Re...

wait, wrong thread. No, seriously, its good.

Came here for this, left satisfied

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Captain_Insano

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#22  Edited By Captain_Insano

It's okay but it really stretches at times

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FrodoBaggins

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#23  Edited By FrodoBaggins

For me I just love the story arc of nearly all the characters, especially the strike team, and even more specifically Vic and Shane. It's just so damn tragic. The ending is pitch perfect. I could have just watched the strike team busting criminals and skimming off the top forever.

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soulcake

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#24  Edited By soulcake

Sierra

Hotel

India

Echo

Lima

Delta

Toudouew toudew toudew toudew ta ta

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Draugen

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Absolutely the best thing.

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deactivated-5e6e407163fd7

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I watched like 3-5 episodes a few years ago after Dan talked about it. I didn't find much to like about it. Felt very 00's edgy tv drama.

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deltamind

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I have mixed feelings about it, but not neutral.

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YI_Orange

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I finished watching it not too long ago on the recommendation of a friend. It's definitely significantly better than it seems like it's going to be. Early on it feels like it's in danger of becoming the anti-hero worship show, and there's absolutely a type of person who roots for Vic Mackey and thinks and he's a cool tough guy(similar to the worship around Walter White), but I think The Shield does a great job of making him an irredeemable piece of shit. Same with Shane. Fuck Shane. I absolutely love Walton Goggins and his slide into madness in the last few episodes was brilliant but good god what an absolute fucking travesty of a human being. Vic and Shane's arcs, especially taken side by side, are probably some of the best to ever air on television.

Unfortunately, it feels a little directionless outside of those two. Lem only gets a real arc in the run leading up to the grenade. Ronnie only starts becoming a real character toward the end(which is sad since he's the unsung hero of the strike team). I hate the direction they took with Dani. Tina and Claudette just kinda peter out. Julien was always annoying. Dutch and Aceveda have pretty good stories though. And as far as the seasonal guests, Forest Whittaker was fantastic.

One of the main things I've always seen garnering heaps of praise for The Shield is the ending. Maybe it's because Hulu for some reason has 2 versions of the last episode so I thought I had 1 more, but I was initially extremely disappointed with the ending. I slept on it and came around pretty much immediately though, it's basically perfect.

I don't think it would crack my personal top 10, but it's certainly very good.

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deactivated-5ba16609964d9

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It's arguably one of the first prestige dramas on basic cable and its success led to other dramas to edgy for network TV to get a chance. Plus it introduced a lot of people to the incredible Walton Goggins who would go on to star in another great drama on the same network by the name of Justified.

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MerxWorx01

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Is there a good blu-ray set for this. I'll check it out later since I've been meaning to see this. I really like The Unit, Does it have the same sort of feel?

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deactivated-5ba16609964d9

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Is there a good blu-ray set for this. I'll check it out later since I've been meaning to see this. I really like The Unit, Does it have the same sort of feel?

It's kinda more Homicide meets Training Day meets Bad Lieutenant minus Harvey Keitel's penis.

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frytup

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#34  Edited By frytup

@merxworx01 said:

Is there a good blu-ray set for this. I'll check it out later since I've been meaning to see this.

BD set coming in November apparently. Probably also to streaming services.

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oraknabo

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I watched it religiously when it was first on and rented it on DVD a couple of years later. I've had been meaning to go through it again when I noticed it was on HULU to see if it still held up, but I canceled my subscription last year so I never got around to it.

My only real complaint about the series was that I thought Dutch was one of the best characters in the first few seasons but got sidelined as the strike team's interpersonal conflicts got more and more complicated.

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deactivated-5ed7db3f7c897

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Shane Vendrell has the best arc of any TV character ever. Walton Goggins is the great actor of our age.

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nutter

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@yi_orange: Vic is a cool, tough guy. He’s also a dirtbag. I think that’s what’s so appealing about the Tony Soprano, Walter White, and Vic Macky types as protagonists.

They’re cool, smart, buck authority, etc. They’re innovators and entrepreneurs. There’s a primal coolness to it. But they’re all also EXTREMELY flawed and doing inarguably horrible things. Their reasons are justifiable reasons to look down these roads, so there’s some sympathy to be had, but at the end of the day, they’re villains and criminals.

They all try to justify their actions to their wives, accomplices, themselves...they know they’re forces of evil in the world. They know there’s an element of Robin Hood to what they’re doing. They justify their actions as only hurting criminals and their families, not real people. Their logic is flawed. But when you take a charasmatic actor who you want to pull for and put them in the role of villain-protagonist, it gets very interesting to feel a piece of you pull for them while another piece reviles them.

So yeah, Vic shouldn’t be looked at as cool and tough period. There are FAR more important negative traits about him. But Vic, like Tony Soprano and Heisenberg (not Walter himself), is pretty damned cool. And he uses that to his advantage with characters on the show AND the viewer.

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nutter

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@frytup: Interesting....I thought that I had read that The Shield wasn’t shot 16:9 “safe,” but everything I’m seeing seems to be to the contrary, so cool.

4k, 16:9, restored final episode...I may have to replace my DVDs...

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frytup

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#39  Edited By frytup

@nutter said:

@frytup: Interesting....I thought that I had read that The Shield wasn’t shot 16:9 “safe,” but everything I’m seeing seems to be to the contrary, so cool.

4k, 16:9, restored final episode...I may have to replace my DVDs...

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YI_Orange

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@nutter: Absolutely. I made that post while still waking up so my thought process was a bit muddy. The point I was going for is that I think a lot of things fail when they try to put a villainous character in the spotlight because they compromise one side of that character. They either have them go completely off the deep end or trudge down some redemptive arc until we forget why we hated them in the first place. As things near their end, it becomes a guessing game of either how they go down or how they get away with/fix everything. The Shield did neither and it was perfect. Breaking Bad, while certainly a great show, I feel like flopped this attempt. I very much found the ending to be unsatisfying and almost like trying to have their cake and eat it too. Dexter is a masterclass example in how to fuck this up.

A lot of my favorite characters probably do fall under that umbrella so I'm not opposed to them by any means. I love both Chris and Tony from The Sopranos. Stringer Bell, Omar, and Bodie from The Wire. Spike from Buffy/Angel(he goes pretty hard down the redemptive arc but I think it was done well). Maybe Wesley is a better choice. Jaimie Lannister from GoT. Dexter Morgan (seasons 1-4). Boyd Crowder from Justified is probably my favorite character from any TV show, which I know, he's a straight up villain but when he plays against all the other villains it's hard not to hope he comes out on top. Hell, all the most compelling characters in The Americans are Russian intelligence agents.

I guess, what I'm trying to get at, is when other people are calling it "edgy 2000's drama" I know exactly what they mean. The Shield was constantly on a slippery slope that could have sent it tumbling into Sons of Anarchy. For me, there was just this pervasive feeling of "am I supposed to be clapping for these guys?" that I think hampered my appreciation for it a bit. There was no celebration in any of their successes because(disregarding good storytelling) I didn't WANT them to win. I didn't want anyone to win. Even Dutch had to go strangle a cat. But I'm about to go in circles.

Also, the theme song doesn't do their tone any favors.

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nutter

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@frytup: Yeah, I saw that. I normally don’t get excited about retail stuff that isn’t music, but this has me SUPER interested.

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nutter

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#42  Edited By nutter

@yi_orange: HA! Am I remembering things wrong, or did Dutch have that cat plot beat and then his development sort of vanished.

I felt like he was constantly about to snap from the bullying and (mostly) losing to Vic and seemed to be about to go somewhere REALLY dark. I don’t remember that going anywhere (it’s been years, though). It would have been nice to see him succumb to his darker impulses or successfully put them behind him...

...maybe I’m just blanking on what happened with him next...I guess I’ll be refreshed this fall.

EDIT: I agree and disagree on the theme song. That stinger “BA BA-DA BA-DAH!” is a guilty pleasure of mine. The soundbite-y nature of the rest of it has it’s moments, but is pretty cringey on the whole.

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frymillstrum

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#43  Edited By frymillstrum

It had really good case of the week stories while actually barreling along with an overarching plot that basically starts like a thread unraveling from the very first episode through to the end and it does have some shocking ass moments. I know I cried multiple times during the last season.

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YI_Orange

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@nutter: Dutch starts to stand up for himself at some point. He has a subplot/romance with Corinne that just sort of ends without much ever happening. From there it's mostly(even with the cat thing too) about his ability to get inside the mind of a killer. He doesn't go down the expected route of it corrupting him since the cat is basically the darkest he goes, but he just becomes a really good detective. Pretty much it. It's nothing particularly deep but I usually enjoyed his subplots.

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nutter

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@yi_orange: I forgot about Corrine...call me old fashioned, that was ice cold.

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notnert427

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@nutter: Absolutely. I made that post while still waking up so my thought process was a bit muddy. The point I was going for is that I think a lot of things fail when they try to put a villainous character in the spotlight because they compromise one side of that character. They either have them go completely off the deep end or trudge down some redemptive arc until we forget why we hated them in the first place. As things near their end, it becomes a guessing game of either how they go down or how they get away with/fix everything. The Shield did neither and it was perfect. Breaking Bad, while certainly a great show, I feel like flopped this attempt. I very much found the ending to be unsatisfying and almost like trying to have their cake and eat it too. Dexter is a masterclass example in how to fuck this up.

A lot of my favorite characters probably do fall under that umbrella so I'm not opposed to them by any means. I love both Chris and Tony from The Sopranos. Stringer Bell, Omar, and Bodie from The Wire. Spike from Buffy/Angel(he goes pretty hard down the redemptive arc but I think it was done well). Maybe Wesley is a better choice. Jaimie Lannister from GoT. Dexter Morgan (seasons 1-4). Boyd Crowder from Justified is probably my favorite character from any TV show, which I know, he's a straight up villain but when he plays against all the other villains it's hard not to hope he comes out on top. Hell, all the most compelling characters in The Americans are Russian intelligence agents.

I guess, what I'm trying to get at, is when other people are calling it "edgy 2000's drama" I know exactly what they mean. The Shield was constantly on a slippery slope that could have sent it tumbling into Sons of Anarchy. For me, there was just this pervasive feeling of "am I supposed to be clapping for these guys?" that I think hampered my appreciation for it a bit. There was no celebration in any of their successes because(disregarding good storytelling) I didn't WANT them to win. I didn't want anyone to win. Even Dutch had to go strangle a cat. But I'm about to go in circles.

Also, the theme song doesn't do their tone any favors.

These are some quality TV opinions. Boy, are you right about Dexter tanking hard as a show after Season 4. (Sons of Anarchy followed virtually an identical path, although it wasn't ever as good as most of the other shows being discussed here.) To your overall point, though, I can't stand one-note villains, and even the anti-hero types like Vic Mackey typically don't get the balance right. One thing I will say for The Shield is that while, I, too, had a tough time "rooting" for basically anyone on the show by the end, the show did a pretty good job of making their motivations for their shittiness clear enough to where you could sort of understand where they were coming from, while still despising their behavior at the same time.

Boyd Crowder is indeed the best character that's ever been on television. His character arc never stops being interesting, and it's a goddamn crime that Goggins didn't win multiple Emmys for the role (or for Shane Vandrell, for that matter, although that character's pure awful). There's so much depth to Boyd. At varying points of the show, he's a wildly ignorant racist, a vigilante minister, a small-time criminal, a blue-collar worker trying to just keep his head down, a big-time criminal, a devoted husband, an abusive deadbeat, etc., and by the end of the show, he's this broken amalgam of all of these things that resorts to pure self-interest. He's both friend and foe to Raylan, and as a viewer, I found myself on some different part of the spectrum of hating and liking him from almost episode to episode.

It makes me way too happy to see people appreciating Justified. It is my favorite show, but I feel like no one talks about among great television, and they should. @nutter mentioned the occasionally odd structure of the show, and it's a fair criticism. The first season was mostly a "villain of the week" format, and subsequent seasons took on a "season villain" of sorts. Both had their shortcomings because you sort of knew when the villains were going down, but ultimately, it was a story about Raylan and Boyd, and that thread ran through the entire show and resolved at the end in terrific fashion. I could talk all day about Justified, so I'll stop here, but it's the best and I'm glad to see it appreciated here.

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nutter

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@notnert427: I dig Justified, just not as much as most. And yeah, Walton Goggins is fantastic in it.

As for best TV character, I might give Al Swearengen the edge, but Boyd Crowder is WAY up there (and is never a wrong answer for best character).

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jppt1974

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Not for the squeamish but still put F/X on the map fo sure.

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lucaspiazon1313

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I don't think so

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vildiil

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#50  Edited By vildiil

Best thing ever? No. But is was a pretty good show that still hold's up to this day.